Monday, November 8, 2010

Observations

I had totally planned to do NaBloPoMo, and then suddenly realized it's November 8th and I am already seven days behind. So that was the end of THAT idea.

I have been reading quite a bit lately, though have not yet started blogging on books again. No word on whether there will be a Cannonball Read 3. I kind of would love to get it going among a small group--more like a book club but we read different books--but I'm not sure how well that idea would go over. After all, most of the people I know (live and virtually) are very busy. If any of you readers are interested or have ideas of your own, please let me know. I guess I feel kind of silly blogging away about books almost by myself. Left to my own devices, I just read them, which is probably not as effective and productive.

Speaking of books, I have discovered that my giant Ikea shelf my parents bought me in
April is now almost completely full (as are all the other shelves in the house.) I am either going to have to do a serious book purge, or I need to find a space to put up the second shelf. (The latter option seems more likely, frankly.)

I have been watching TV lately, some very interesting things going on at the moment. I like all my old favorites (though I find both L&O:LA and L&O:SVU somewhat disappointing) but there are some great new things on that I am really enjoying.

1. Boardwalk Empire, HBO: This show is stellar, and I'm really enjoying it so far. The characters are multi-faceted and well-acted, and the plots are usually very intriguing. Not to mention the set design and costuming are unbelievable. Steve Buscemi is great as Nucky Thompson, a crooked politician who is running Atlantic City at the beginning of Prohibition. Michael Pitt (whom I wasn't really sure of at first) is really settling into his character, dangerous yet vulnerable war-veteran-turning-gangster Jimmy Darmody. At first he seemed unsure of exactly how to play the character, but as time has gone by, I feel like he's gotten a grip on what drives Jimmy's thought processes. Plus the Jimmy character is less lost and has more purpose now. Anyway, it's one of the very few shows that The Boyfriend and I both enjoy, and I recommend it.

2. The Walking Dead, AMC: I just got around to watching the pilot episode for this yesterday, and I was very impressed. I'm kind of surprised to see something like this--humans versus zombies--on mainstream television. I have read the first three books in the comic series on which the show is based, and am thus far pretty impressed how closely the show has stuck to the source material. Anything that was added so far seems to be a benefit. Obviously it's hard to say much about a show having seen only one episode, but I will say the tension was constant, and many of the scares were not so much gore related (though they don't shy away from that) as they were pure "Omigod what is going to happen next Oh why are you going into that dark hallway what are you doing GET OUT OF THERE!" thrills. I was interested to check this out because I have enjoyed Frank Darabont's previous Stephen King adaptations (the only director, IMHO, who has had any luck adapting King works). So far, so good, though I suspect it won't take me long to hate the wife character. It's also kind of great that while there are no "big name" stars in this, there are several "Hey, it's that guy!" moments. If I were you, I'd check it out.

3. Raising Hope, Fox: I don't watch too many sitcoms these days (mostly just The Big Bang Theory and Community) but this one is definitely worth watching. It's the story of Jimmy Chance, a not-very-bright young dude who winds up with a baby after a one night stand with a serial killer. Jimmy decides that he is going to keep the baby, Hope (or as her mother named her, "Princess Beyonce") and raise her himself, trying to avoid the mistakes made by his parents, who were teenagers when he was born. The parents are played to perfection by Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt. I have always loved Martha Plimpton, and her portrayal of cynical cleaning lady Virginia is hilarious. Even better is Garret Dillahunt; I have really liked him in everything he's done before--he's done brilliant work as creepy, evil characters on Deadwood, Life, and Burn Notice--so it's a treat to see him play the good-natured but utterly dim Burt. Throw in Chloris Leachman as Virginia's deranged grandmother, and it's a veritable cornucopia of dysfunction. I guess what gets me, though, is how they--particularly Plimpton--remind me of a white-trash version of my own family. This show was created by Greg Garcia, who was also responsible for My Name is Earl. Raising Hope has the same sort of vaguely cartoonish feel about it, while still having a heart. Don't miss this!

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